Austin Jack WarnerFifa vice-president Jack Warner showered praises on sponsor of the Caribbean Cup, Digicel, but had stern words for the T&T team as the Soca Warriors open the second round in the four-team tournament, tonight.

Matches kick off at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella, with a double-header. In the opening match Haiti meets Guyana at 5 pm and host T&T plays St Vincent and the Grenadines from 7.30 pm. The competition is being hosted here in T&T.

“I want no excuses from the T&T team, this is the qualification for the Gold Cup and I expect to see attractive football being played,” said the Minister of Works and Transport. The winner of the Finals which is to be played in Martinique will walk away with US$120,000 and the runners up US$70,000.

The four semifinalists will advance to next year’s Concacaf Gold Cup. This year, Digicel is contributing a record US$270,000 in prize money, the most ever for a Caribbean Cup tournament. “Digicel has put half a million dollars in cash prizes and I want each team to make its country and Digicel proud.”

The president of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) and Concacaf was yesterday speaking at the launch of Second Round of the tournament.

“I am happy to have Haiti here to compete despite all the troubles they have faced and are facing,” said Warner, referring to the Haitians recovery from the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit in January. “Haiti has strived towards recovery following the devastating earthquake and is nominated for the Fifa presidential award and I expect them to receive it.”

He also singled out St Vincent and the Grenadines, which is also recovering from a natural disaster, hurricane Tomas that hit on the weekend. “St Vincent are going through some difficult times, use this opportunity to give your people hope,” said Warner.

Also present at the function were president of the T&T Football Federation (T&TFF) Oliver Camps, Carl Donnelly, head of group sponsorship at Digicel and Penny Gomes, the Communications manager.

Gomes identified increasing crowd capacity as one of the major initiatives of Digicel. “Fans can look forward to creative competitions such as text-to-win and radio call-ins where they can win everything from footballs to trendy Samsung phones,” said Gomes.

“Also at the games there will be a number of treats for spectators, ranging from the very popular Digicel Girls to one of our endorsees Ravi B. He will be making an appearance at halftime to entertain the crowd.

“Spectators can look forward to receiving complimentary gifts to ensure their experiences at the DCC (Digicel Caribbean Cup) in T&T are ones to remember.”

Coaches and representatives of the four teams were also in attendance including Soca Warriors coach Russell Latapy, Samuel Carrington, coach of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Guyana’s coach Wayne Dover and Haitian manager Jean Roland.